Suddenly, an impact came from behind, and the boy was sent to the sky.
Despite that he still turned his body and aimed his gun behind him.
The four shots Yousuke shot in that short period of time until he fell back to the ground were aimed right at the enemy, but the defensive skill deflected them all.
He tried to continue fighting, but the enemy had already vanished.
In response to the younger Senba, the older Senba attacked the enemy where he appeared next.
In her hands, was a new single-edged sword that resembled an odachi.
She swung down from the high stance, but the man’s gauntlets blocked her sword.
“Gu, it’s hard!!”
“Our specs are too different, lowly civilian Earthling!”
With the armor deflecting the blade, the impact from that attack affected her instead, and she cried out as her arms grew numb.
And then, just as one might expect from a former soldier, the enemy immediately used his other arm to counter attack.
When she saw a blade about to attack her, she immediately jumped back to dodge.
The man clicked his tongue upon missing, but immediately after, he disappeared from that place.
In the next moment, a golden great sword struck that place, giving rise to a cloud of dust.
“Tch, so he’s not just a former soldier for show, huh. His reactions are quick!”
They’d planned a two-stage attack, but the enemy’s reactions were too fast.
Ryou cursed in frustration, but he immediately rendezvoused with the siblings and huddled together.
How many minutes have passed since they were given that 10 minutes?
They were so focused in the battle that they didn’t even have the leisure to check.
But because of that their breaths have started to mesh, and they could now read the pattern of the enemy.
Whenever the enemy disappears, he would always appear in someone’s blind spot, attack, and then disappear again.
But if he were to receive an attack in the middle of that, he can’t disappear unless he shakes off the attack first.
And then when he finally disappears, he’ll appear somewhere far away, but he won’t attack them immediately.
As for why, they’ve yet to figure out, but they had no choice but to aim for that.
“…This pattern has been repeating since awhile ago. It would be fine if the enemy is getting tired too, but…”
“Don’t say it, it’ll just become even more annoying!”
Although they could minimize their blind spots by huddling together, the tension and fear of an attack coming from some random direction was mentally exhausting.
Moreover, after attacking, they had to intentionally expose themselves afterwards.
Having to expose themselves to an enemy that attacked so mercilessly was a lot more terrifying than they’d thought. To make things worse, they’ve yet to succeed.
At this rate, it seemed as though their minds would collapse first before their body.
“We’re finally able to read his movements a little, but It’s ridiculous that the most we’re able to do is to barely hit him!” Youko said
“Those exoskeletons of yours… Those are the practice units for beginners, right?” Ryou said.
“They’re still much better than the simple exoskeletons.”
When Ryou pointed out that truth with a bitter face, Yousuke wryly smiled.
In the end, their exoskeletons were just meant to help them get used to exoskeletons for when they finally moved up to the special class.
Not only was their output incomparable, they had to face against an enemy that was using military-grade exoskeleton too.
They also fundamentally couldn’t keep up with the speed of the man disappearing and reappearing.
Just being able to hit the enemy’s exoskeleton was already good.
The difference in specs was simply too big for them to deliver a proper blow.
Despite all that they somehow brought the situation to a point where they could resist.
Which is why what Ryou was really concerned about was not their battlefield.
“…This is bad. If things go poorly, everyone else will break first,” Ryou said.
The first ones to fall would most likely be the classmates of the twins.
The soldiers attacking the 2 – B class were outfitted with full-armor-type simple exoskeletons, but in the face of their calculated formations and movements, and the scant experience in human group battles of class 2 – B, class 2 – B was gradually being pushed into a corner.
Although they managed to assume formation somehow and defend against the surprise attack, in the face of the enemy’s coordinated attacks, just one trip would be fatal.
The enemy’s formation was by no means eye-catching, but it was firm and steady. Before that, a rashly-made formation just wouldn’t hold.
In fact, they had already been forced into a purely defensive fight, unable to extend so much as an arm in the face of those quick and precise attacks.
Although both groups were close in number, the difference in equipment and ability was evident.
The teacher was fighting as well, but the teacher alone couldn’t overturn a group battle.
“But we can’t lead that guy there either.”
Ryou said as he glared at the enemy in the air, wary for the next attack.
If they were to move, that enemy would surely give chase, and even if they were to survive his attacks and rendezvous with 2 – B, their actions would only drive that class further into a corner.
An enemy that mysteriously disappeared and reappeared was a lot more troublesome than an enemy squad in formation.
The only thing Ryou and the twins could do was to gradually move the battlefield closer to 2 – B, so that when the situation called for it, perhaps at least one of them would be able to go and provide cover.
“Hmph, are you done discussing? Not that there’s any merit to it, of course. The shallow thoughts of amateurs are worthless against pros such as ourselves.”
“Sigh… That’s just cheap provocation,” Yousuke said.
“You’re kind of childish, huh,” Youko said.
The ridiculous voice that sounded as though they’d won already annoyed the twins.
Ryou was the only who knew how right the man was, and so became even more irritated.
“Damn it, if not for that stupid cheat of theirs!”
In this battle between the class of 2 – B + Ryou versus the Volunteer Army, the students were gradually being one-sidedly pushed.
Even that talk about reinforcements coming 10 minutes later had already vanished from the three students’ minds.
After all, they were in a terrible deadlock, where they couldn’t even counter attack.
And their class could be defeated at any moment.
As they racked their heads of a way to deal with this mess, they’d completely forgotten about any unnecessary details.
Unfortunately, despite that they still failed to come up with a practical plan.
The sealing of skills had limited the tactics they could apply much more than they’d thought.
Which is why the only thing that could move this situation other than time────
“You sure are leisurely against children… Though I suppose, that’s the most you can expect from some rebels.”
────was the intervention of a third party.
As that scorn-filled voice resounded, even the enemy turned to its direction.
The person had appeared so suddenly, the sensor of the twins couldn’t even sense him.
In fact, they couldn’t even sense him approaching. It was as though he’d suddenly appeared there.
But what really surprised the three Japanese students was what that person was wearing.
“…Huh? Who, I mean, what’s with the getup?”
“A monk cosplay?”
With a priest’s grab and a khakkhara, the person’s appearance was simply too ill-suited with the place and situation.
There was nothing to hide the face of the man, so they could easily see that he was in the later half of his thirties.
The man was unshaven with chiseled features, and he laughed fearlessly.
“No, way… Why, is that guy in a place like this!?” Ryou said.
“And who are you supposed to be? Coming out here in such a ridiculous outfit, do you want to die!?” The enemy in the air said.
Not only did the strange man come here without a simple exoskeleton, he came in a priest’s garb. Because of that the man in the air couldn’t help but yell angrily.
“Hmph, what a rude way to talk to your own sponsor. And you couldn’t even deliver the package we gave you to the proper locations, so you’re a failure there too.”
But the man in priest’s garb was leisurely, and was as scornful as ever.
Although no one could see the face of the man in the air, It was easy to imagine that his veins must’ve been bulging by now.
Despite that he controlled his emotions, likely because he had an idea of what the strange man was talking about.
“So it’s you people! You’re that sponsor that made us carry that weird thing!”
“And yet you couldn’t even bring them to the designated location and just threw them away somewhere. Because of that I, the core of the plans, was last to arrive.”
The strange man said in displeasure, but the enemy in the air just snorted as though he couldn’t care any less.
There was also a murderous aura about him that seemed like he would make a move if the strange man didn’t stop talking.
“So arrogant even though you couldn’t even carry your own things. Oh, right. Would that mean that you’re an enemy too, lower life form?”
“I just told you I’m your sponsor, you barbarian. A reinforcement for someone useless like you who’s having a hard time. Be grateful.”
As both men glared at each other, they forgot all notions of giving way.
Meanwhile, the twins, who’ve been completely left out of the loop, were confused.
“Hey, who is that? What is going on!?”
“They look like they know each other, but it’s not clear if they’re friends or enemies. Is this some kind of play? But why would the teachers prepare something like this?”
Because the twins were convinced that this was a part of the exam, they couldn’t even speculate properly.
Any speculations they could come up with were completely off the mark.
Unlike the other boy.
“Yoshihisa Ootsu!!  So it was you, Ootsu. who’s responsible for this whole mess!”
His name called, the man, Yoshihisa Ootsu, turned to Ryou’s group for the first time.
With wrath and hate swirling in the boy’s eyes, Yoshihisa immediately remembered who he was, and a smile appeared on his face.
“Hmm… And here I was wondering who it was that called my name… I did hear you’d be here, but to think you’d actually be here, the jinx that ended the Shinguuji family, the unwanted child born by that whore. So you’re still living wretchedly, and here I thought, you’d already realized how vain this world is.”
“Shut up!! It was because of those lies you people spread that my mother!!”
“Giving birth to an unwanted child with a man no one knew anything about, and then falling sick after she was abandoned was her reaping what she sowed.”
He neither listened to the boy’s complaints nor held any ill will.
If anything, as though Ryou and his mother were filthy garbage, he looked at him with a gaze full of scorn and mocked his mother relentlessly.
The memory of Ryou taking care of his sickly mother all alone flashed through his mind.
And now, one of the people responsible for that was standing right before him, mocking his mother without the slightest hint of shame.
His mother had lived a life free of enmity, she did her best to raise her child all on her own, and yet here was a man living carelessly, arrogantly mocking that selfless mother.
At that moment, something snapped in Ryou’s head.
“Don’t screw with me!!”
As though to release everything he’d been keeping inside him all this time, Ryou bellowed out in anger and raised up his great sword.
“Stop it, Shinguuji! I get that you’re angry, but you can’t do that!”
But when he was about to try and pierce the man through, Yousuke stopped him.
“Let go of me, Senba! No matter what, I’m going to kill that bastard!! I don’t care if he’s unarmored, he’s dead!!”
Despite having a Strength and exoskeleton both superior to Yousuke’s, Ryou couldn’t even break free of Yousuke because he’d lost his cool.
Stopping him was less about attacking an unarmored human, and more because Yousuke couldn’t leave him in that state.
“And you too! I don’t know what your relationship is, but you’re old enough to be an adult!! You should know better than to insult a kid’s mother! You’re the worst!” Said the older Senba as she thrust her finger at Yoshihisa.
Perhaps that was the reason why the younger Senba and the older Senba stood in front of Ryou as though to protect him.
As a pair of twins, who’ve come this far for the sake of their hardworking mother, seeing the mother of their friend insulted could by no means be a good feeling.
 – Takahisa to Yoshihisa
Tl Note: No chapter tomorrow.